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We Bought a 2021 Tesla Model Y

tesla model y 2022 01 blue exterior front angle sedan scaled jpg 2021 Tesla Model Y | photo by Christian Lantry

It’s the view of’s editors that the Tesla Model Y is the benchmark for small electric SUVs, a class that’s soon to multiply. It’s also one of the bestselling EVs — to the point that, according to Automotive News, in the first nine months of 2021, it surpassed sales of Subaru’s bestseller, the Forester compact SUV, with the Model Y totaling 132,400 sold versus the Forester’s 132,254. With our collective opinion and its growing popularity in mind, we bought one.

In late July, we ordered a 2021 Model Y Long Range All-Wheel Drive with 326 miles of EPA-rated range, an optional third row and a tow package, and we took delivery in early November.’s Editor-in-Chief, Jenni Newman, ordered the car and said, “Purchasing the Model Y couldn’t have been easier. It was frankly easier than ordering groceries online.”

Related: 2021 Tesla Model Y Specs, Price, MPG & Reviews

What We Ordered and Why

This isn’t our first time with the Model Y. Earlier this year, we reviewed the five-seater, but when it came time to buy our own, we wanted to sample the three-row, seven-seat version to test the usability of the third row.  Yes, it’s small, but there are top tethers for car seats, and we’re curious who can fit back there. (Alternately, it could serve as a penalty box for editors who miss their deadlines.) We also want to see how the optional third row impacts the impressive cargo volume of the two-row Model Y.

Because of our third-row needs, we were bound to the Model Y Long Range All-Wheel Drive. It’s the only version with the optional third row, a $3,000 option that adds seating for two along with a sliding second row replacing the fixed bench of the five-seater, USB-C charging and electric seat releases in the rear cargo area. Our Model Y also has the optional $1,000 Class II tow hitch that allows the SUV to tow up to 3,500 pounds, a respectable amount for an EV this size, and we opted for the Deep Blue Metallic Paint at $1,000 because it’s blue and sparkly.

We stuck with the base 19-inch Gemini wheels with wheel covers because our previous test car rode very stiffly on the optional, black-painted Induction 20s, so we thought the 19s could ride a little better. And as for the $10,000 option of Full Self-Driving Capability? We declined, opting to test the $199-per-month subscription of those features, requiring just a press of a button via the Tesla phone app to unlock.

How Much We Paid and How Long It Took

Add it all up and our Model Y’s price when we ordered on July 26 was $60,290, including a $1,125 destination fee, $75 documentation fee and $100 order fee. We paid an additional $6,153.56 for taxes and registration, bringing the final cost to $66,443.56.

At the time we placed our order, we only paid the $100 order fee. We didn’t have to pay the remaining $66,343.56 until closer to the delivery date, which shifted during the build but ultimately arrived earlier than expected.

In July, Tesla estimated a mid-to-late-November delivery date, which at one point shifted to as late as December as notified via our online account. But in early October, a delivery date of late October to early November was communicated. In addition to financing, Tesla accepts an electronic check (direct debit), wire transfer or certified check, and we paid via wire transfer on Nov. 3 ahead of receiving the car on Nov. 4, making it just over three months from order to delivery.

However, if you ordered this exact configuration now, in November 2021, Tesla’s website says it would take double the time we had to wait — six months — with an estimated delivery date of June 2022. Also, a sign you may have waited too long if you’re considering buying a Model Y is that pricing increased $4,900 since we ordered our Long Range All-Wheel Drive, which would now cost $65,190.

Taking Delivery

We picked up our car at the local Tesla service center, where it was waiting with a name on the window, a fresh coat of wax and a tire shine making it look worth the three-month wait. All it took to drive home was to accept delivery via the Tesla website. Newman then logged into the Tesla app that was pre-populated with our car’s info; this allowed her to use the app and phone as the key. There were documents in the car that needed signing, along with instructions on how to complete the delivery process, including dropping off papers in a drop box on the side of the building.

Newman didn’t meet with a single service or sales representative during pickup. There wasn’t a tech demo, which seemed odd for a car as unique to drive and operate, but the screen and app are filled with how-to videos and instructions.

What’s Next?

Early Model Ys suffered from well-reported quality control issues, and we performed a deep dive inspection to see how ours was built. We’ll have more on that later as the car is going into the service center for a couple of things we observed, but nothing was overly offensive.

Our Model Y includes a redesigned center console and wireless phone charger, new parts compared with earlier-built Model Ys such as the one we reviewed. We also received a J1772 charging adapter in the charge cable case that allows us to charge at non-Tesla chargers — Tesla uses a proprietary connector), including the six home chargers we have installed in editors’ homes; none of them being the Tesla Wall Connector. We now know this is standard on all Teslas, but in complete transparency, we didn’t see it listed anywhere, so we purchased one ahead of time and are appreciative to have a backup.

Over the next couple of years, we’ll own this 2021 Model Y Long Range All-Wheel Drive to compare against other EV SUVs, live with its ups and downs like our other long-term test cars, and get the full Tesla ownership experience as this car evolves with over-the-air updates. We’ll tow, road-trip, test acceleration (for $2,000, we can hit another button to unlock faster acceleration), use the third row and closely track our range, efficiency and battery life during the years we own the car. You can follow all our Tesla Model Y coverage at

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More From’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Joe Bruzek
Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: Email Joe Bruzek

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